Now before I get started, I will say that this is a topic that I personally struggle with on a daily basis (ask my wife). The more technology advances the more difficult it becomes to have direct, meaningful communication. Maybe it isn’t more difficult, but the alternative of indirect communication becomes easier and easier. I was walking on the beach recently (where the photo above came from) and saw a couple enjoying the sunrise and the waves. On a closer look (no I am not acting as the creepier version of Rob Lowe on the DirectTV ads) both were fully absorbed in their online life on their cell phones. Maybe they were “liking” that video of a singing and dancing cat, who wouldn’t?! It baffled me to think of coming to the beach for a breathtaking sunrise, only to be checking out Facebook; to each their own.
The real question is how often do we find ourselves, like the beach goers, exchanging quality time that could be spent building a relationship with a loved one, co-worker, or client with increasing our online presence? I am not saying that our online presence is to be ignored, it is a great tool that can help build relationships and improve our marketplace visibility. What I am saying is to be careful that we are not exchanging real relationship building opportunities for our mobile devices. Think of this way, Jon Acuff writes in “Do Over” about being present and gives the following scenario (albeit paraphrased): Each of us have been on the receiving or the giving end of the following scenario, you are in the middle of a conversation and either you or the other party pulls out their phone and scrolls through the contents. Who knows what they are doing, probably checking the weather or “liking” a post from a friend, but whatever it is, they have effectively put you on “pause”. Without speaking a word they have said “hang on a minute, because this is more important than what we are currently discussing”. This scenario happens on a daily basis and I am just as guilty of it as the next person.
The applications can be made to ones personal life, however I will let you formulate your own “real life” examples – I never pretend to be a psychologist. What are the professional correlations? Think of your business relationships (staff and clients) as you would your personal relationships for a minute, both demand time and nurturing or at some point when you look up from your computer or mobile device, they may be gone as well as an opportunity. Remember, the art of personal communication cannot not be captured in a text, email, or hitting “like” on social media; it requires time, attentiveness, and work for both parties involved. So much can be gained by a person’s facial expression and body language that gets missed with the indirect communication described above. In your professional life, try devoting more time to one-on-one direct communication, it WILL payoff!
Kevin Benjamino DVM, DACVS
Copyright @ 2015